Davao del Sur 6.9 Earthquake Joint Rapid Assessment of Impact and Needs (23 December 2019 )

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The Rapid Assessment of Impact and Needs (RAIN) is a joint undertaking by the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Davao del Sur and the Mindanao Humanitarian Team (MHT), led by the Provincial Governor through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO). Consolidated by OCHA on behalf of the PSWDO/PDRRMO and the MHT, the analysis provides a shared understanding of the most pressing needs of vulnerable people and communities, living in the areas most affected by the recent earthquake. The assessment represents a consolidated evidence base and helps inform the local government in strategic response planning.


On 15 December, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake shook the province of Davao del Sur and vicinity. The epicentre of the earthquake was located 9 kilometres northwest of Matanao, Davao del Sur at a depth of 3 kilometres. The municipalities of Matanao and Magsaysay in Davao del Sur recorded the strongest intensity, with surrounding municipalities experiencing destructive shaking. According to the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), an estimated 4.4 million people or 830,000 households live in towns that sustained strong tremors.
Some of the affected communities were already burdened by the October earthquakes. The latest earthquake is the fourth quake above magnitude 6 in the last two months to hit this part of Mindanao, all within a radius of 12km: 6.3-magnitude on 16 October; 6.6 on 29 October; 6.5 on 31 October and the most recent 6.9 on 15 December. OCHA analysis indicates there are some 838,000 people living in the area worst affected by all four earthquakes.

The 15 December earthquake has compounded previous displacement as well as damage to homes, schools and infrastructure from the October earthquakes. Many of those displaced by the most recent event currently camp in makeshift tents in open spaces near their homes or in evacuation centres, usually open areas near their barangay (village) hall or church, adding to displaced communities who lost their homes and have been staying in tents and evacuation centres since October. The physiological trauma of the affected population is aggravated by continuous aftershocks.
As of 22 December, more than 1,000 aftershocks have been recorded in parts of Davao del Sur. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) stated the December earthquake may have been caused by the move of the Tangbulan Fault running along Davao del Sur and is not directly related to the October earthquakes, attributed to the movements in the Cotabato fault system. PHILVOCS expects more tremors as the Tangbulan fault continues to move.


According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), almost 374,000 people/81,600 families are affected in 203 barangays in Region XI and XII. As of 23 December, 36,700 people/7,800 families are taking shelter in 57 evacuation centres, while 94,200 people/21,600 families are staying in homebased settings. In total, 13 were killed and over 200 people injured by collapsing structures, falling debris, cardiac arrest, and other earthquake-related traumas.

Strong ground shaking led to additional and newly damaged and destroyed houses and compromised vital infrastructures, including roads, schools, and hospitals, causing the interruption of basic services to health, clean water, hygiene and sanitation, and education of learners. According to the NDRRMC, more than 26,000 houses were damaged, of which more than 4,500 were totally destroyed.

Some 25 health facilities and 14 bridges have been reported as damaged. Numbers are expected to rise as local authorities continue to assess damage and validate the number of those affected. Over 300 schools have been damaged, according to the Department of Education (DepEd), affecting more than 188,000 enrolled students.
An estimated PhP1,9 billion (US$37 million) will be needed for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of damaged schools. As of 22 December, the Government has provided about PhP13 million (US$256,000) worth of assistance to the affected families.


According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) latest figures, the municipalities of Magsaysay, Matanao, Hagonoy and Padada were among the hardest hit by the December earthquake with a total of over 205,000 affected people. Magsaysay was already strongly affected by the October earthquakes which initially displaced about 40,000 people in the municipality of which 1,700 people were still seeking shelter outside their homes, when the latest earthquake struck. Within less than 24 hours after the earthquake, the towns of Padada and Hagonoy in Davao del Sur declared state of calamity due to sustained damage and to be able to tap in the local calamity funds.